If you've read my blog before, you know I have a special spot for puppy yawns. This one of Midnight is SO good, we are going to have a first-ever-for-the-blog "caption the photo contest." To enter, suggest a caption for the photo in the comments. As a family, we'll pick a winner by 7/3/20. The winner gets a $15 gift card to Life's Abundance. (To be eligible, I must have a way to contact you; leave a way to contact with your caption suggestion.)
For the next photo, the caption should simply be SUMMER!
And now for their weekly update photos... (Remember to click on the photos for more of each puppy. Scroll down on their pages for the latest photos.)
As you can see in their photos, the puppies are much more alert to life! Some new sounds are coming from the whelping area – little yips and paper being shredded! Puppies somehow seem to “come alive” between week 4 and 5. It is like a switch flips from life being about food and sleeping to life being about playing and exploring with a dose of food and sleeping on the side.
When they begin shredding the paper in the potty box, it tells me two things - their little teeth are bothering them and they are looking for new things to explore. Enter - chew time! This week, we introduced them to buffalo lung and buffalo bully sticks.
My favorite chew for the puppies is the buffalo lung. They love it, and I love that it’s one ingredient – buffalo lung! Life’s Abundance has several wonderful chewing products that are one ingredient – no harsh chemicals, fillers, or preservatives! We use these products on our adults and puppies because chewing is an important part of a dog’s life. In addition to help easing the pain of puppy teething, it helps clean their teeth throughout their lifetimes. And, chewing is just fun and enjoyable for dogs! I think it can help relieve stress and anxiety, as well. We don’t believe in trying to teach puppies NOT to chew, we believe in teaching them what to chew on. We already are training our puppies there are things not to chew on – mainly our toes (which seems especially delightful to puppies) and the newspaper in the potty box. We instruct our children never to let puppies “play bite” or chew on them – even though it’s adorable right now before all their teeth are intact and before they have real jaw strength.
The puppies were introduced to solid food this week. We began by soaking their Life's Abundance Small & Medium breed food in goat milk. We use goat milk because it has a reputation for being gentle on digestive systems and deliciously irresistible to dogs (and it’s available from our own homestead so we know it’s fresh and safe). They love meal time! We will transition them from softened food to hard kibble before they go home at 8 weeks. Sheerah still also feeds them a few times a day, but she’s making that switch already to spending more time away from the puppies than with them. A wise canine Mama, she is, knowing that it is time to release her babies. She’ll continue to feed them over the next week, but finish up by the time they are 6-7 weeks. The time frame of a few weeks of mothering may seem short to us, but not to dogs. She fed them, cleaned them, socialized them to dog behavior, and lots more in a few weeks, and she knows it’s time to let them go.
Their weights are as follows: Luna - 3lbs, 10oz; Midnight - 3lbs, 6oz; Hiro - 3lbs, 1oz; and Bella - 2lbs, 9oz.
In addition to adding chews and solid food to their lives, socialization continues for the puppies. They got to spend time outside checking out rocks, mulch, grass, kittens, and more! They had the wonderful privilege of interacting with some of the families who are going to take them home. They got to experience another room in our house - the basement which has lots of new interesting toys and furniture. A mop and leaf blower were 2 new sights and sounds. I also gave them a quick, gentle brush with the slicker brush and comb I use for weekly brushing on my dogs. So, the horizons continue to expand, all with lots of time left for....SLEEPING!
The above photo shows you who is who to help you identify puppies in my other photos. Luna has a purple collar, Midnight has an orange collar with geckos, Hiro has a peacock collar, and Bella has a southwest-y design called "El Paso." For the families taking these puppies home, the collar will come with them.
Before the weekly snapshots, I'm going to give some answers to common questions I receive.
1) What flea and tick products do you recommend? We do not treat our puppies with any flea and tick medicine. (We do deworm and vaccinate them, but no flea and tick medicine.) We choose not to use flea and tick products due to their small size. In addition, they live in a low-risk environment because all our adults are treated with Bravecto. You should discuss flea and tick prevention at your first vet visit. Since Bravecto is not recommended for use until after 6 months old, I recommend using Frontline on your puppy once he/she is 10 weeks old.
2) What size crate do you recommend? We recommend 30"x19"x21" wire crate with a divider panel. This crate will serve your mini schnauzer from puppyhood to adulthood. When you are crate training, use the divider panel to give the puppy a small place to bed down. As they grow and learn to potty outdoors, expand their crate area. When they are fully trained, the divider panel will not be needed.
3) Do you at Russell Homestead take the puppies out for potty needs? Weather-permitting, we start taking the puppies outside for potty needs between 5-6 weeks. There is no way to take the puppies out for ALL their potty needs at 5-6 weeks, but we take them out at common times of needing to go - when they wake up and after they eat. For this litter, the warm temperatures provide lots of opportunity to go outside. When they don't go outside, they typically go in their potty box. We have opened up the whelping area giving them a sleeping area, potty area, and play area. While your puppy will not be house trained when he/she comes, your puppy will have a preference for doing potty needs away from their sleeping area.
I will close again with fun snapshots from the week! I've said this many times before on the blog, but I think it's worth repeating as you look as these pictures of puppies being handled by children - as I've watched my children interact with puppies over the years, I've decided there is a balance when allowing young children to play with puppies. On one hand, the child needs to learn to be gentle, and, on the other hand, the puppy needs to learn how to tolerate hands that don't always know the best way to hold them. We have to be constantly monitoring our youngest children as they handle the puppies. As I think back, when we had our first litter of puppies here at Russell Homestead in 2014, AJ was 4 years old. At age 4, we could not trust him to be alone with the puppies. Now our oldest children can play with puppies alone, while we still have to monitor the younger ones. I feel both our children and puppies learn from this experience. We've heard many, many testimonies from families that our puppies love children.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by! Remember to enter your caption in the comments below. We greatly appreciate clicking the "Like" button below; thanks!
Bringing to you a special edition of the Russell Homestead blog! I decided it was time to shake up my weekly blog routine and do some videos instead. In my eagerness to share these videos, I'm doing the update one day early! These videos will also be of assistance to those of you who cannot visit the puppies before pick-up time.
Click on the links below to see updates on the puppies at 4 weeks old.
The Puppy Room
The Whelping Area ~ 4 Weeks
Life's Abundance Products
There will be no weekly update published tomorrow. I will be posting their 4 week weights on their pages. A regular blog update will be published next week. Thanks for stopping by!
Welcome to week 3! As you can see from their photos, the puppies are more alert and awake than the last 2 weeks. Mobility is also on the rise! Though it’s tottery, the puppies can now walk. Below is Luna showing you that she can walk as she sniffs the grass for the first time.
As you can see, the puppies had their first foray outdoors this week. They got a brief introduction to grass, a distant lawn mower sound, our cat, and all the smells on the pleasant summer breeze. Walking means it’s potty training time. See below how we now have a designated potty area for the puppies. The potty area is the right of their box where the newspaper is.
We believe house training begins as soon as the puppies are mobile at 2-3 weeks old. (You can read more about our house training process here and here.) We use the Misty Method to train our puppies. The premise of the Misty Method is to capitalize on a dog’s God-given instinct not to soil the place where they sleep. The puppies now have two areas – a sleeping area in the gray box with a towel and potty area on newspaper in a plexi-glass box. They cannot yet access the rest of the whelping area. We change the towel in the sleeping area several times a day to teach them it’s a clean area and transfer sleeping puppies from the potty box to the sleeping area. (Yes, the puppies do sack out in there at first, but my children are good at catching them and moving them.) When the puppies do eliminate in the potty box, we cover it with fresh newspaper to keep it clean while preserving the smell to make them come back again. We also eliminate the smell in the sleeping area by cleaning it with Bio-base Biodeodizer, which works naturally to eliminate the source of bad odors by using viable bacterial cultures (read more here), and it smells amazing! This is hands-down my hubby's favorite Life's Abundance product because, yes, puppies do make messes; and, yes, they are quite smelly at times. Spraying on biodeodizer immediately makes the odors begin to dissipate.
The puppies’ weights as of this week are Luna - 2lbs, 6oz; Midnight - 2lbs, 5oz; Hiro - 2lbs, 4oz, and
Bella - 1lb, 14oz. These four puppies are full and content and growing very well.
Since the puppies can now see and hear, they are already being socialized to the normal household sights, smells, sounds, and sensations. They are in a room off our kitchen and near our washing machine. They already are familiar with a myriad of household occurrences – doors closing, washing machine running, coffee pot brewing and beeping, happy voices (and grumpy voices), hands touching them, soft surfaces, hard surfaces, cool surfaces, radios, a blender, and on and on – and all of this without any real purposeful socialization on my part because they are part of our daily routine. As they grow, I intentionally socialize them to as many things as I can, while being conscious not to overwhelm or overstimulate them. We always, always let them get plenty of rest because that's an important part of puppy growth and development.
I’ll close my post today with snapshots from the week. As you can probably guess, the cuddle sessions are getting longer!
Thanks, as always, for stopping by!
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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